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A Beautiful Mind

...The story behind....

How many drugs must a man consume to create such a stupid kite

The story began at the kite festival in Lünen 2008:
I had just won the German championship in three categories. And of course a big party was following with a lot of alcohol. We were together with our good kite friends Marc Duguay from Canada and Michel Mauguen and Claude Bova from France. Marc was a little bit frustrated, because he again lost the competition against me with his Zebra-style-kite. But the next time he definitely wanted to beat me. And when we were drunk enough, we decided to have a crazy competition between Marc, Claude and me:
We wanted to create something special, something challenging. It has been proven that asymmetric flat kites can fly. But have you ever seen an asymmetric cell kite?? Very, very rare! So, the subject for our competition was found: Everyone shall build an “asymmetric box kite”. We left it open, how asymmetric is defined, but it has to be a box kite.
We wanted to meet us again with our creations on the German Championship in Lünen 2009.
Time passed by, e-mails were sent back and forth with jokes and stories how far everyone is. But finally no one has taken the competition really serious. So Lünen 2009 passed by without any asymmetric kite been built.
In 2010 I started to make drawings and think about the project more serious. I realized that it is really difficult for me to switch from a symmetric 3-D thinking to an asymmetric 3-D thinking. But it was already clear for me that I want to have:
- Different sail shapes
- Each sail with a different sail design
- Cells interlaced in each other
Finally I had a first drawing, with which I was not 100% satisfied. But I decided to start with sewing the sails, because with hesitating I would never make progress. The fun part was that the concept was still not complete and modifications on the drawing were still planned. But as a starting point for the sewing I fixed at least the left part of the kite (the green half-tubes and the wings with the black and white designs).
Neither Claude, nor Marc and I reached the level middle of 2010 that a kite would be ready till Lünen 2010. Therefor we postponed the challenge again to 2011. My target was to complete the kite till Fanø kite flyers meeting in June 2011. So, I finally started with the sewing in fall 2010. And from that date on I really made progress and had full concentration on the work.
Most difficult was the middle part with the three boxes interlacing in each other. I had to determine the correct positions of apertures in the sails, where sticks have to go through the fabric. It was hard to keep the overview with this “forest of sticks” (citation of Andrew during Portsmouth kite festival 2011) and with all these pieces of fabric crossing each other. I had to open stitchings several times, because my brain made a mistake.
It was a very risky project. I invested a lot of money and even more time, without knowing if the final kite construction will really fly. Finally I reached estimated 200 working hours. But then, at the end of May 2011, the sewing was complete, all sticks, which will permanently stay in the kite, were cut. Only the main horizontal bars were missing. But this was the last work left for Fanø inclusive the bridle lines. Hurra, I made it!!
The main bars and the bridle lines were easily done in a few hours in our house on Fanø. Then the big day was there. The weather was perfect: Sunny and a moderate wind from the sea. The first positive thing: It took me only 20 minutes to build the kite up. An unbelievable short time for a “Christian Harms”-kite. But will it really fly?
The answer is YES! It lifted up in the sky and drifted then to the right. But instead of crashing down on the right side the kite found a stable point. This was exactly what I expected: The left side has a bigger lifting surface than the right side. So the wind pressure is pushing the kite to the right until the force is equalized.
I was really skeptical, if this stupid kite isn’t too colorful and inharmonic with its different sail designs. And the first view on the kite in the sky confirmed that and was a little bit sobering. The designs of the sails were not very well visible, because they were overlapped by the designs of the sails behind. But fortunately this was only, because I had to fly the kite against the sun. After some minutes I gave the kite line to Petra and had the chance to go around the kite. It was fantastic! From each new point of view the kite looks different. The strong colors were supported by the sun. What a beautiful, interesting and a little bit chaotic kite.
We are now looking forward what kite creations our friends will showcase. One thing is for sure: They have to build something really special to beat me in our competition.
Footnote: The name of the kite “A beautiful Mind” is a title of a movie with Russel Crow. He is playing a genius professor, who was seriously affected by schizophrenia and lived a long time in his own dream world. Finally he found a way with logical thinking to have a normal life in the real world.